Before & After: This DIY Playhouse Gets the Most Incredible “Vampirina” Makeover for Halloween
As editors in the family space, we are lucky enough to see many gorgeous kids’ rooms. But sometimes, one lands in my inbox that’s so inspiring that I start peering at the family toolbox, wondering just how much I could be capable of too.
Rebecca Reed, her husband, and daughter Vegas-Jack, age 5, live on the south coast of Australia with their two dogs, a hairless cat, and two silkie chickens. The area is famous for its beaches and outdoor camping. “It’s a hot spot for the holidays,” she says. All the more reason to deck out absolutely every part of the home — including the Cubby playhouse out back (can you guess how much we love the playhouse’s nickname?).
And the Cubby Playhouse is a dream, with its tiny deck, kid-sized slide, and whimsical door frame. When Rebecca first came across the (now-discontinued) KidKraft playhouse on Marketplace, it was painted a bright Kermit-green and looked pretty beat up, with broken skylights and sun-damaged paint. But she was quick to see the potential.
To break up the monotony of the days at home during the pandemic, the family decided to go camping in their backyard, which inspired Rebecca to DIY their playhouse accordingly, using their favorite Disney themes. “It’s important to keep the magic alive,” Rebecca insists, “especially during a pandemic.” Since Disney and Pixar products are hard to find in Australia, Rebecca had to rely on her own DIY skills to bring the themes alive. And, as the kids say, she understood the assignment.
The can’t-be-missed Cubby Playhouse gets a refresh every holiday, even May the Fourth. “But Halloween is our favorite,” Rebecca says. “Fun fact: Halloween has grown so much more here in Australia!” For the spookiest holiday of the year, the playhouse gets painted in multiple shades of purple, along with white trim to provide a playful contrast. Rebecca’s biggest budget DIY tip? Use paint samples! Just a little leftover paint can make a huge difference.
The family also loves to DIY small decorations, such as spray-painted skeletons and upcycled holiday decorations they find on Marketplace and for free. “It’s more sustainable and they make for fun craft projects!” she says.
For the “Up” themed playhouse, the family pretended they were wilderness explorers. Rebecca added helium balloons, homemade signage, and even a tiny Kevin bird. The rainbow tones make this playhouse a bright and inspiring spot to play — and of course, Vegas-Jack looks forward to her mother’s new designs every holiday.
Next up? “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” of course! Cardboard cutouts of Jack and Sally, along with a DIY monster wreath, snowflakes, and other charmingly spooky details, give the Cubby Playhouse a whole new spin. Follow Rebecca on Instagram to see how this magical space continues to evolve over time.
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This article has been updated from its original publication in October 2021.